The Works of William Perkins fills a major gap in Reformed and Puritan theology. Though Perkins is best known today for his writings on predestination, he also wrote prolifically on many subjects. However, his complete works have not been in print since the mid-seventeenth century. This volume, the first of a projected 10-volume set, contains three of Perkins’s treatises. A Digest or Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament offers a synopsis of the Bible that relates sacred history to the chronology of the world. Dating God’s creation of the universe in 3967 BC, Perkins develops his overview of redemptive history that culminates in the final judgment. The second treatise, The Combat between Christ and the Devil Displayed expounds Matthew 4:1–11, showing how Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness set him up to serve as the second Adam; reveals how the devil assaults the church so that we might be better prepared to resist his temptations; and equipped Christ to be a sympathetic high priest to those who are tempted. The third and most significant treatise is A Godly and Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon in the Mount, in which Perkins explores the Sermon on the Mount as key to unlocking the meaning of Scripture in its entirety, suggests that his understanding of what Christ declares in Matthew 5–7 was pivotal to the development of his theology and piety.
Check out other volumes of this series: The Works of William Perkins, Volumes 1-6 (6 vols.) and The Works of William Perkins, Volume 7.
“According to Perkins, God executes His decree through four ‘degrees’: effectual calling, whereby ‘a sinner, being severed from the world, is entertained into God’s family’; justification, whereby ‘such as believe, are accounted just before God through the obedience of Christ Jesus’; sanctification, whereby ‘such as believe, being delivered from the tyranny of sin, are by little and little renewed in holiness and righteousness’; and glorification, whereby the saints are perfectly transformed ‘into the image of the Son of God.’29 This golden chain constituted, for Perkins, the definitive word on God’s grace.” (Page xv)
“‘I gladly call to mind the time, when being young, I heard worthy Master Perkins, so preach in a great assembly of students, that he instructed them soundly in the truth, stirred them up effectually to seek after godliness, made them fit for the kingdom of God; and by his own example showed them, what things they should chiefly intend, that they might promote true religion, in the power of it, unto God’s glory, and others’ salvation.’” (Page xiii)
“What the moral law is, I will describe in three points: first, it is that part of God’s Word, concerning righteousness and godliness, which was written in Adam’s mind by the gift of creation; and the remnants of it be in every man by the light of nature, in regard whereof, it binds all men. Secondly, it commands perfect obedience, both inward in thought and affection, and outward, in speech and action. Thirdly, it binds to the curse and punishment everyone that fails in the least duty thereof, though but once, and that in thought only: ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the law, to do them’ (Gal. 3:10). The sum of the moral law is propounded in the Decalogue or Ten Commandments, which many can repeat, but few do understand.” (Pages 243–244)
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